Space Of Her Own program seeks volunteer mentors


The Space of Her Own (SOHO) program is seeking adult female volunteers for its art-based mentoring program for fifth grade girls.

The girls attend workshops with their volunteer mentors, and together they participate in team-building activities, learn life skills and gain knowledge of artistic concepts, techniques and processes. Based loosely on the television show “Trading Spaces,” the program culminates in remodeling of the girls’ bedrooms.

Each mentor is responsible for designing the new room, incorporating her mentee’s artwork, and developing ample lighting and study space, using a shoestring budget of just $250. Girls work with mentors to “pay it forward” by completing various community service activities.

An art exhibit and reception at the conclusion of the mentoring program features a before-and-after bedroom renovation video of each project.

Each mentor commits to a yearlong relationship with her mentee, to attend 90% of the Thursday evening sessions, to spend a weekend on a room renovation, and to complete eight hours of community service with her mentee. Prospective volunteers are required to attend one of two orientation sessions on Thursday, August 14 or Thursday, August 21, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at The Art League Annex, 1 Duke St, on the corner of Duke and Union Streets. Prospective mentors must also complete an interview and criminal background check, scheduled for August 28 from 4 to 8 p.m. RSVP for one of the two orientation sessions by e-mailing This year’s program begins on September 25 and concludes on June 11.

The SOHO program seeks to facilitate an appreciation for the arts while it develops positive, long-term relationships between girls and mentors, reduces crime, and promotes the overall success of the program’s participants in school, home, and community life. The Art League Inc. and the Alexandria Court Service Unit administer the program. Since its inception in 2003, SOHO has assisted over 80 girls.

The City of Alexandria provides financial support for the program through its Youth Fund. Other contributors include the Otto-Whalley Family Foundation; the Meltzer Group, ITT; Dominion; Burke and Herbert Bank&Trust Company; Bittersweet Catering; Mattress Discounters; Duron Paint; Alexandrians Involved Ecumenically (ALIVE); Daughters of Jerusalem and Sisters of Mercy.

For more information on the SOHO program and about other volunteer opportunities, visit